While some of corporate America has suffered from employee downsizing and high-level corruption, African-American women in executive-level positions are proving to be invaluable assets to several Fortune 500 companies. Overall there are few black women in boardrooms — and one report on women in executive positions showed that black women represented only 1.6 percent (out of 15.7 percent) of women in key positions at large corporations.
That’s not the case at McDonald’s Corporation, which acknowledges the leadership effectiveness of its black female corporate staff. The next time you drive into a McDonald’s restaurant, ponder this along with the menu: McDonald’s Corporation has more than 30 African-American female executives in key operational and business functions.
Shirley Rogers-Reece, vice president of worldwide training, learning and development, has been with McDonald’s for 24 years. She oversees a staff of 35 people and says that the company focuses on helping to develop people inside the organization in order to drive diversity. Being an executive with McDonald’s puts her in an important position regarding employee career mobility within the company. “We have never been in a position to be able to look at our folk and see what they need and who needs help in order to advance,” she says.
One employee who has successfully moved through the ranks is Debbie Roberts, who started working with McDonald's accounting division and later moved to marketing. Today she is vice president of operations.
"I'm in that group of people who have been given the opportunity to move through the organization," says Roberts. "I don't know many companies that allow you to do that."
Read More in the March issue of Ebony — on newsstands now!
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